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Somalia: Teaching life-saving skills

02-10-2003 News Release 03/121

Abdifitah Mohammed Hassan is a pillar of the Somali Red Crescent Society. Now in his early forties, he cannot remember how many people he has trained in the course of his career as a first-aid instructor.


Somali Red Crescent instructor Abdifitah Mohammed Hassan teaching first-aid techniques to young people.
© ICRC/Sidler, Roland/ref.Dscn1907 - 09/2003 

During the first few years of the conflict in Somalia, Hassan and his colleagues, often at the risk of their lives, evacuated hundreds of wounded people from the front lines. Since the Society was sorely lacking in volunteers with knowledge of first aid, Hassan began training people during lulls in the fighting.

Hassan now spends three days a week teaching young people basic first-aid techniques in one of the Society’s buildings in Mogadishu. He regularly has them perform practical exercises so that they can learn to synchronize their movements, and laughter often breaks out when one of them makes a blunder. " Humour is a prerequisite for good teamwork " , Hassan tells us. Sparing no pains, he tirelessly corrects his students’ slightest mistakes. He knows that they are a closely knit and motivated group and that the people they will have to help will be in capable hands if worse should come to worse.


 Further information: Juan Martinez, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++ 41 79 217 32 17  

The European Broadcasting Union will broadcast video footage on the subject dealt with in this article on Friday 3 October at 5.15 G.M.T.